National WWI Memorial honors Reams American Legion Post for 5 days
By Todd R. Hansen
via the Daily Republic newspaper (CA) web site
SUISUN CITY — Manuel E. Reams Jr. was a cattleman and former baseball player when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War I.
Known affectionately as Mannie, he also picked up the nickname “Babe” during his semi-pro baseball career from 1910 to 1915 – a time in which George Herman “Babe” Ruth was making a name for himself as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
Reams would attend St. Mary’s College, where he played baseball, football, basketball and ran track, and finished his education at Santa Clara College, also playing baseball there. He eventually gave up baseball, got married and moved to Santa Rosa to raise cattle and other livestock.
He was called into the war in 1917.
Reams was wounded in the Meuse-Angonne offensive, a 47-day battle along the western front that started Sept. 26, 1918, and continued until the Armistice was declared at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918.
Believed to have been killed, the Suisun City native was found wounded in a German dugout.
However, Reams would soon rejoin his unit in the Ypres (Flanders) region of Belgium and participated in the critical Ypres-Lys Offensive, believed by many war historians to have been the battle that led to the end of the war 12 days after the battle’s start.
But Reams did not see the end of the U.S.-British-Belgian-French offensive. He was killed Oct. 31, 1918, the first day of the battle, somewhere in a forest area near the town of Waereghem. He was 27.
Reams is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Fifteen months later, on the evening of Jan. 7, 1920, in the Odd Fellows Hall in Suisun City, 37 men who had served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps during the Great War voted to create California American Legion Post 182 and named it after Reams.
That post, from Sept. 5-10, will be honored at 5 p.m. each evening with the playing of taps at the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.
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